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Robin Garr

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CJ's temp critic dines alone, grants Vincenzo's 3 stars

by Robin Garr » Thu Jan 03, 2019 10:21 am

First, let's wish CJ reviewer Lindsey McClave well ... she's home for a few weeks on maternity leave!

Meanwhile, Lennie Omalza, Lindsey's substitute for the duration dropped her inaugural column today, apparently dining alone at Vincenzo's, and granting it just three stars on the basis of missteps in a dining experience that otherwise "shines."

According to a blurb at the end of the column, "Freelance restaurant critic Lindsey McClave is out on maternity leave. Lennie Omalza, who writes the Home of the Week column for Courier Journal , is filling her shoes (and plate!) for the next few weeks."

With a few missteps, Vincenzo's still shines for Louisville diners
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Re: CJ's temp critic dines alone, grants Vincenzo's 3 stars

by Jeff Cavanaugh » Thu Jan 03, 2019 11:18 am

Is it just me, or is 3 stars kinda generous for the content of that review?
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Re: CJ's temp critic dines alone, grants Vincenzo's 3 stars

by Heather L » Thu Jan 03, 2019 11:31 am

Does a server ever think something might be up if a person dining alone orders 2 antipasti, a salad, 2 entrees, a dessert and coffee? Honestly just curious - yes, that's my take away from this review. ha.
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Re: CJ's temp critic dines alone, grants Vincenzo's 3 stars

by Andrew Mellman » Thu Jan 03, 2019 1:12 pm

We've always been ambivalent . . . food around 3-4 stars, but the issue was service: 4 star + if they know you, and 1 star if they don't. Net: we prefer to go to places where we are treated well even if they don't know us.
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Re: CJ's temp critic dines alone, grants Vincenzo's 3 stars

by Robin Garr » Thu Jan 03, 2019 2:30 pm

Andrew Mellman wrote:... but the issue was service: 4 star + if they know you, and 1 star if they don't. Net: we prefer to go to places where we are treated well even if they don't know us.

This! I wrestled with this for years because there was now way I could review Vincenzo's fairly. He had figured out who I was, of course. But I finally figured out the way to do it: I recruited a foodie friend, a younger woman who was highly qualified to do the review but, you know, young, and female. She took another young woman friend, came in without reservations, and got the 1-star treatment of course. Then she wrote it up. :)

Here's her January 2007 review with my extended intro. I haven't reviewed it since. :twisted:

Has Vincenzo's lost a step?
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Re: CJ's temp critic dines alone, grants Vincenzo's 3 stars

by TimT » Tue Jan 08, 2019 12:21 pm

As a counterpoint the last time I dined there it was a six star experience, if there was such a thing.

Visiting home and dining with an old friend we chose Vincenzo's. We were craving Italian and hadn't ever been there - we just remembered the great meals at Casa, once upon a time.

We weren't dressed for it as it was spur of the moment, and actually wondered if they would seat us. I'm talking jeans, and pullover with sneakers. We were also without a reservation.

We approached the stand and inquired if we might dine despite our admittedly inappropriate dress and were welcomed and ushered in immediately, tucked into a comfy corner with dim lighting so as to not scare away other guests. This was fine with us because we has every intention of spending the entire evening if possible, catching up with one another.

Our server arrived and we told him of our desire to spend a long, leisurely evening if possible and we were lucky. It was a slow mid-week evening and there was no rush to turn a table. We began with cocktails and then the subject turned to the meal. Our server suggested we allow the chef to provide a tasting menu of sorts. We were to simply say how many courses and the chef would put something together for us after asking about our general preferences. He asked if we might like some John Dory for one of the apps. It was my first taste of this wonderful fish and I crave it to this day.

We spent about three hours there. The service was magnificent and the food every bit as good as my memory of Casa. We weren't rushed at all and our server was not at all intrusive, but very diligent and right there if we so much as twitched. They didn't know us from Adam as the saying goes and it truly is one of my most memorable dining experiences.

I wish it could be like that for everyone.
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Re: CJ's temp critic dines alone, grants Vincenzo's 3 stars

by Mark R. » Tue Jan 08, 2019 2:25 pm

My wife and I have completely given up on Vincenzo's until we say things changing somewhat. Every time we've been there (granted that's not too many) we felt like we were ignored more than served. It's probably partly because we are not 1 of the "regulars".

Also, unlike almost every other Louisville restaurant they are still living in the 60s. They haven't updated their decor, menu or service profile like all the other restaurants in Louisville have done. If I want Italian food it certainly not a restaurant that popped the top of my list. Even the new restaurant that Vincenzo's sons opened is far superior in every way. Maybe they just need to look therefore ideas.
Last edited by Mark R. on Wed Jan 09, 2019 5:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: CJ's temp critic dines alone, grants Vincenzo's 3 stars

by James Natsis » Wed Jan 09, 2019 10:12 am

Mark R. wrote:
Also, like almost every other Louisville restaurant they are still living in the 60s.


Huh??? ....... Louisville's food scene is hardly stuck in a time warp. I'd say by most accounts it is quite progressive with a good range of throwback classics to very contemporary, creative tendencies.

Sure, one can point to cities with multi-millions of people and triage some particularities that may not be present in Louisville. But pound for pound, the city definitely impresses.
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Re: CJ's temp critic dines alone, grants Vincenzo's 3 stars

by Mark R. » Wed Jan 09, 2019 5:19 pm

James Natsis wrote:
Mark R. wrote:
Also, like almost every other Louisville restaurant they are still living in the 60s.


Huh??? ....... Louisville's food scene is hardly stuck in a time warp. I'd say by most accounts it is quite progressive with a good range of throwback classics to very contemporary, creative tendencies.

Sure, one can point to cities with multi-millions of people and triage some particularities that may not be present in Louisville. But pound for pound, the city definitely impresses.

That should have been "unlike" instead of "like", unfortunately the speech recognition software I have to used to write anything makes errors like that occasionally and I don't see them all the time.

I certainly agree that almost every other restaurant in Louisville is very progressive and that Vincenzo's is 1 of the few that isn't.
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Re: CJ's temp critic dines alone, grants Vincenzo's 3 stars

by James Natsis » Wed Jan 09, 2019 9:22 pm

Mark R. wrote:
James Natsis wrote:
Mark R. wrote:
Also, like almost every other Louisville restaurant they are still living in the 60s.


Huh??? ....... Louisville's food scene is hardly stuck in a time warp. I'd say by most accounts it is quite progressive with a good range of throwback classics to very contemporary, creative tendencies.

Sure, one can point to cities with multi-millions of people and triage some particularities that may not be present in Louisville. But pound for pound, the city definitely impresses.

That should have been "unlike" instead of "like", unfortunately the speech recognition software I have to used to write anything makes errors like that occasionally and I don't see them all the time.

I certainly agree that almost every other restaurant in Louisville is very progressive and that Vincenzo's is 1 of the few that isn't.


I thought that was a strange take coming from a guy like you who posts regularly.

We all can relate to the auto check. Its even worse for guys like me who type texts, emails, etc in more than one language, and often mixed in the same message. It really confuses the system.
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Re: CJ's temp critic dines alone, grants Vincenzo's 3 stars

by meghan.levins » Thu Jan 10, 2019 12:31 am

Robin, I'll review restaurants for you where you are recognized :D

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